North Korea's top military body has lashed out at South Korean President Park Geun-Hye and stated that Pyongyang would continue to pursue nuclear weapons.
A spokesman for the North's National Defense Commission took the unusual step of referring to the South Korean leader by her name, rather than the usual "chief executive" title.
President Park said this week that the North's resolve to develop its nuclear capability while boosting its economy is doomed to fail.
The North Korean spokesman called Pyongyang's nuclear program a vital deterrent to prevent a nuclear strike.
On Wednesday, visiting U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and his South Korean counterpart Kim Kwan-jin signed an agreement meant to provide greater deterrence against North Korea's nuclear weapons.
Hagel said the plan underscores the two countries' concerns regarding the North's "nuclear and ballistic missile programs, its proliferation activities, and its chemical weapons."